ICICI Bank May Assume Market Leadership with a Co-Branding Push

ICICI Bank is pushing ahead of its competition, as the issuer adds 150,000 debit cards and 100,000 credit cards each month. ICICI has become the second largest issuer of credit cards in the country with 1.6 million. In the debit card market, ICICI has about 4.0 million cards.
Citibank remains the credit card leader in India with 1.8 million cards, but may be overtaken by ICICI within the next twelve months. The third and fourth largest credit card issuers are Standard Chartered Bank and SBI Cards, respectively. ICICI is reportedly focusing on co-branded cards to fuel its growth. The bank currently has co-branded deals with HPCL, BPL Mobile, and Trinetra.

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Excluding Sub-Prime, Portfolio Premiums Hold Steady

While sub-prime credit card portfolio premiums continue to decline to well below par value, premiums for prime and super-prime portfolios this year have been holding steady in the 17% to 19% range. Over the first three quarters of 2003, more than $39 billion of prime and super-prime outstandings have changed hands. According to data compiled by R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers, 41 deals above $15 million have been struck this year as well as 39 sales of small credit union card portfolios. Over the first nine months of this year, prime premiums have ranged from 2.5% to 26.0%. During the third quarter the range was 2.5% to 24.5%, compared to a range of 5.0% to 26.0% for the second quarter, and 3.1% to 19.7% for the first quarter.

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UATP Offers VIP Airport Lounge Access at a Discount

Washington, DC-based Universal Air Travel Plan is now offering “Priority Pass” memberships at a discount, which provides access to 450 airport VIP lounges worldwide. Priority Pass delivers a flexible solution to business travelers who may fly a variety of airlines but need to maintain productivity during their airport lay-overs. With a Priority Pass membership, business travelers can choose from three different plans to satisfy their needs. UATP is the world’s first corporate charge product. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.

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VISA Beefs-Up Advertising as Honor All Cards Rule Ends

VISA USA announced this week it is beefing-up its marketing and advertising effort during the fourth quarter to drive up consumer usage. The increased effort comes just ahead of the January 1st termination of the “Honor All Cards” rule in the USA, whereby merchants can elect not to accept debit cards or credit cards. VISA says it launch three national usage promotions and at least seven new television commercials between now and January. VISA Q4 marketing activities will be supported by advertising, promotions, public relations and direct marketing efforts using their partnerships with the NFL, Disney and Broadway. VISA says it will launch two new NFL television commercials in conjunction with its NFL sponsorship. VISA is also launching its second Disney promotion this year during Q4. Furthermore, VISA will sponsor and be the only card accepted for the national tour of the hit Broadway show “Movin Out.”

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Personal Advantage Transmitter Card Launched

Direct Response Financial Services has launched its “Personal Advantage Transmitter Card.” The card provides ATM network access and, as an option, can provide access to the major credit card networks. Customers also have the ability to link two cards together and move monies between those linked cards. The card is geared toward young adults, credit-challenged adults and to large immigrant groups who regularly send monies to Central and South America. DRFL says it will initially focus on the Southern California marketplace and that customers will be entitled to full membership benefits, such as unlimited attorney time and accounting time on the telephone, so long as they meet a $10.00 monthly minimum fee.

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American Teens Spend $170 Billion Per Year

American teens are spending about $264 per month of their income that is mostly earned through part-time jobs. They also represent the fastest growing consumer segment, spending more than $170 billion per year. Interestingly, at the end of each month, teens end up with approximately $14 per month in loose change. The findings come from a survey conducted by Coinstar. The “Teens Talk Poll” found that 73% earn money from doing odd jobs, while more than one-third say they hold down either a regular or part-time job. The average monthly allowance for the majority of youth between 12 – 14 years of age is between $30 and $50; while teens between the ages of 15 – 17 receive either between $20 and $30 per month; or $50 and $100 per month. On average the Coinstar poll found that nearly half of young Americans surveyed receive an average allowance of $42 per month. The majority of teens spend at least some of the money they earn or receive, while six percent save it all. The remaining 18% say they save up their money in order to buy specific items or make special purchases.

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Concord EFS and Diebold Partner

Concord EFS and Diebold have teamed to provide turnkey ATM outsourcing solutions to customers. The two companies will offer packaged programs that include ATM processing, hardware, software, maintenance services, support and financing. Diebold will provide the ATM hardware, software and services including its “Opteva” and “ix Series” ATMs and its new terminal-resident “Agilis” software. Diebold Credit Corporation will provide financing options. Concord EFS will provide ATM/POS driving, network switching and gateways to VISA and MasterCard, reporting and settlement for switched transactions, call-center helpdesk, around-the-clock ATM monitoring, and incident management and problem resolution services.

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Lynk Systems Signs Processing Deal with Missouri Oil Company

Atlanta-based Lynk Systems has inked a long-term processing agreement with MO-based MFA Oil Company to use its “LynkPak” upgrade to VeriFone’s “Ruby SuperSystem,” at 450 MFA company-owned and dealer locations. In addition to credit, debit, prepaid and EBT card processing, MFA Oil will use Lynk’s proprietary FuelLynk fleet program to accommodate its Preferred and Petro-Card 24 cards. Lynk is a proven leader in electronic payment, cash dispensing and e-commerce services. The company processes transactions initiated by credit and debit cards, checks, and other access cards from merchant POS terminals, ATMs and web sites. MFA Oil owns and operates, or supplies products to, about 450 fuel dispensing sites in Missouri and surrounding states.

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Detachable Card Carrier Packages Patent Changes Hands

OK-based SSI Technologies has transferred ownership of its patents for detachable card carrier packages to NY-based Advanced Card Technologies LLC. SSI is widely recognized as the leading technology based plastic card manufacturer in the world. Advanced Card Technologies LLC, is a joint venture between SSI Technologies, General Patent Corporation International, and IP Holdings LLC. ACT was formed for the purpose of licensing and enforcing U.S. Patents Nos. 5,720,158 and 5,921,584.

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Do Not Call Registry Enforcement is Hazy

As of this morning it is unclear whether or not the new, national “Do Not Call Registry” is enforceable. The Federal Trade Commission is in the process of shutting down its role in the registry after it was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. However, the Federal Communications Commission maintains it has control of the list and will enforce it, beginning today, despite a ruling by federal District Judge Edward Nottingham last week which barred the FTC from enforcing it. It appears that many telemarketing firms will honor the registry to be safe, but access to the list has been cut-off due to the recent court rulings.

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Cubic Hires Harlow for Parking and Access Markets

San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems has snagged Michael Harlow, former international sales and marketing manager for SAS Access Systems, as manager of sales for the parking and access markets. Harlow joins Cubic after having served as international sales and marketing manager for building and parking access specialist SAS Access Systems in San Diego, where he was named “Salesman of the Year” three consecutive years. Cubic has designed and installed some of the world’s most sophisticated automatic fare collection systems using smart card technology.

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First Data Adds Two Independent Directors to its Board

First Data has named Daniel Burnham, chairman of the Board of Directors for Raytheon, and Jack Greenberg, retired chairman and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, to its board of directors.Burnham joined Raytheon as president and chief operating officer in 1998 and was appointed chief executive officer later that year. He served as CEO through June 2003. Greenberg served in leadership positions at McDonald’s for 21 years. First Data serves approximately 3 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment.

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